I can probably be forgiven for the erroneous assumption that Givenchy Dahlia Noir might be somehow dark. After all, the name means “Black Dahlia” and what does this suggest but a grisly Hollywood murder? Come to think of it, Givenchy seems the last house one would think of as conceiving a scent to match the name. Most of their names are meaningless and arrive somewhere between sounding good (Dahlia Noir) and sounding silly (Oblique Rewind).
Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum turns out to be a chypre based on rose, iris, and patchouli. With a big citrus opening, it isn’t terribly dark, though. Instead, it is intensely powdery, with the powder intended to describe the “femme fatale” allure of the marketing copy. To me though, the drydown of iris and vanilla is too strong on baby-powder. In its heightened use of this iris and vanilla, Dahlia Noir is somewhat similar to Guerlain L’Instant Magic. Ultimately, the eau de parfum reveals a rosy center and a creamy patchouli base.
The Dahlia Noir Eau de Toilette is—surprise!!—a fruity floral. Immediate disconnect with the name. It’s pink and powdery, which isn’t bad in itself. It has no relation to the eau de parfum other than the continued use of powder notes. The lemony opening is the best part of the eau de toilette, which also contains a pale fruity rose. Still wearable, if a tad too synthetic. What ruins the enjoyment for me is a whiff of plastic coconut that makes Dahlia Noir smell both powdery and tropical. Further blurring the line between functional and fine fragrance, Dahlia Noir is something you could smell in any scented product—Febreeze, shampoo, laundry softener. I find that depressing, but I suppose it means that good noses are making nice scents for functional products these days.
Although I understand brand continuity, I want to wrench the juice back from the creative minds and say, “Please call this Pink Dahlia.” It just isn’t fair to give me an olfactory image and then steal it back so happily. With Pink Dahlia, you have instantaneous gratification. And although this isn’t the most important thing on the world agenda, it sure would be nice to know exactly what you were getting.
Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum includes notes of pink pepper, mandarin, rose, peach, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, and amber. Dahlia Noir Eau de Toilette features pink pepper, mandarin, cedrat, rose, peach, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, and amber. Available at Sephora and major retailers.